[16 August 2006]
The formula of hype, press and talent that determines whether or not an artist becomes both a critical and popular favorite is one that will forever remain a mystery. In a just world, Hanne Hukkelberg’s fantastic 2005 debut, Little Things, would’ve gained the kind of traction last year to launch her to the top of year-end lists. Backed by a band that included members of Jaga Jazzist, Kaada and Shining it was a wonderful Brion-esque journey into modern pop. While we wait for her sophomore album to be released in the latter half of 2006, Leaf has issued an almost too-late two-track single to tide over current fans and hopefully gain some new ones. The album track is the fantastic “Do Not As I Do”, a melting pot of pop and jazz with rollicking instrumentation serves as an ample backdrop for Hukkelberg’s wonderfully flexible voice. The b-side is an intriguing live cut of Hukkelberg’s cover of the Pixies’ “Break My Body”. It’s an interesting choice, with the velvety instrumental backing providing Hukkelberg an ironic juxtaposition to deliver Black Francis’ raw lyrics. However, this is at best a curio for the diehard fans only. For the rest of you, I urge you to seek out Little Things and hear what everyone else has been sleeping on for the past year.